40 Days for Life stands a vigil in Hayward
"So far we've diverted 14 girls who've checked in with pro-life clinics," said Anne Van Tatenhove, who is directing her sixth 40 Days for Life Campaign at Planned Parenthood at B Street in Hayward.
And that was during the first week of the vigil, which began on Ash Wednesday, March 5, and runs through Palm Sunday, April 13. The Hayward vigil is among hundreds nationwide, with people standing vigil, praying and offering information outside abortion clinics across the United States and in about a dozen other nations.
One morning, a group from Transfiguration Parish in Castro Valley joined the vigil and prayed the rosary.
Van Tatenhove, a parishioner at Grace Lutheran Church in Hayward, prayed along with them.
The "prayer warriors," the she calls them, talk to people in neighborhood, and work to convince people to consider other options. She describes their work as "peaceful."
The 40 Days for Life group offers information to young women, and can direct the young women to centers such as Pregnancy Choices Clinic in Union City, Valley Pregnancy in Pleasanton, and First Resort in Oakland, which provide pregnancy tests, counseling and referrals to prenatal care.
"We use whatever we can," she said.
Birthright of San Lorenzo and Birthright of Livermore also provide assistance to the mothers, Van Tatenhove said.
The Hayward vigil is the only one in the diocese that is registered on the 40 Days for Life website.
The twice-yearly 40-day vigils — the other usually begins at the end of September — have saved more than 8,500 lives, Van Tatenhove said.
At some clinics, she said, some people keep vigil for 12 hours, some for 24. Van Tatenhove said particularly when the Knights of Columbus are involved, vigils continue for 24 hours. Currently there are 40 Days for Life vigils at 253 sites in 11 countries.
The Hayward hours are 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week.
The Hayward clinic is open 2½ days a week, Van Tatenhove said. "Today we experienced some counter-protesters from Planned Parenthood and Starr King Unitarian Church," she said. The group was wearing matching orange shirts, she said.
Van Tatenhove noted that Planned Parenthood prescribes RU-486, the so-called "abortion pill." She noted that an antidote to the drug has been developed, so even if an expectant mother has begun the chemical abortion process, it can be stopped.
The vigil ends Palm Sunday. "But we'll be back in September," Van Tatenhove said.
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